Different dance scholars present similar creative and choreographic processes. Some scholars write about the creative process, while others write about the steps to create a dance. Both processes underlie making a dance.
The creative process in dance making requires a period of preparation in which you collect ideas. This preparation time should include time for developing choreographic ideas; in other words, you need to figure out the central idea and how to approach it. Next you have to experiment with movement for a deeper insight into the movement ideas. In later sessions, you evaluate the movement and determine what works and what does not work as part of the dance work. The final step in the process is elaborating on the movement ideas you have selected.
Another dance composition process uses similar steps. First, observe the world around you, and explore ways of imitating or symbolizing what you have observed using bodies and movement. Working by yourself, do movement explorations and collect external experiences by observing the work of others. During the composition process, group reflections and discussions provide feedback that should be sorted out as to how well it applies or transfers to the dance in progress. In creating a dance, use your synthesized information from exploration and reflection. After the performance, a final group reflection helps to analyze the process and the product. Then extend the group reflection to a journal of what you learned and what ideas have been sparked for future choreography.
You should know the reason behind your writing activities in relation to your movement activities. Choreographic journaling has been part of dance composition courses since at least the last quarter of the 20th century, and this type of journaling continues today.
In academic dance courses, you usually keep choreographic journals to collect written records of your observations, movement experiments, research, and findings as you go through the dance composition process. Often you write about personal goals in the class and challenges you have faced during a course. You also write about how as an individual or in a group you responded to the process or what you learned from it to help you frame or propose your next project.
With the creative and choreographic processes in mind, the next step is to survey your ingredients for making a dance. In chapter 3 you learned about the elements of dance that play a central role in creating a dance. However, other ingredients also contribute to dance composition.
Activity 4.2 Explore
Create a Movement Sequence
Using the locomotor movements from chapter 3, select two, three, or four even and uneven locomotor movements, and join them together into an 8-count movement sequence. Often movement sequences are parts of a longer movement statement. If a sequence appears to be complete, it may be referred to as a movement statement or sentence. This activity has two parts.
Decide the order of the locomotor movements. Practice your movement sequence until you have it memorized. To add variety to the movement sequence, here are some ideas to try:
First, do the movement sequence as you created it. Repeat the sequence once at slow speed, then repeat it again at a faster speed. Changing the speed or timing on movements changes your energy or qualities of movement. Memorize these movement sequences in the order you chose.
Think about what energy, effort, or qualities you used in these repetitions and how they changed. Review the list of effort actions or movement qualities from chapter 3, and identify which ones you used. If you find a couple of undistinguishable efforts or movement qualities, try the movement again to clarify them.
Now select two, three, or four different even and uneven locomotor movements or basic steps presented in chapter 3; these movements should be ones you are less comfortable with. Use these movements to create another movement sequence.Practice and memorize your new sequence. Again, perform the sequence four times using two or three different speeds. Then, do the first movement sequence followed by the second, or longer, sequence.
Reflect on these ideas about both movement phrases or sequences:
- The locomotor movements or steps you chose
- The differences in speeds
- How the energy, effort, effort actions, or movement qualities changed
How does the first movement sequence compare or contrast to your second movement sequence? Identify at least two similarities and two differences in movement, energy, effort, effort actions, and movement qualities when you changed the speed of your movement.
Summarize your reflections either on paper or in your mind. In a small group, take turns doing your two movement sequences following one another. Then present to the group your summary of the similarities and differences between the two movement sequences you created. Ask the group, "What did you see as similarities and differences after viewing my two movement sequences?"
Listening to the feedback of your peers may give you new ideas to try or to incorporate into your sequences. Observing others perform their movement inventions may give you more ideas to store away in your movement memory bank for future use.